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In a post earlier this month we mentioned it took us awhile to recuperate from the mania of SAVOR, the annual American craft beer and food pairing event put on by the Brewers Association. The event puts D.C. in a beer frenzy for days before and after brewers and booths fill the National Building Museum with beer from all over the country. After taking an appropriate amount of time to fully digest the experience (not to mention the alcohol), we are finally getting around to posting about the evening. Come on, it’s never too late.
Before we begin, it should be noted that we took a new approach this year. At previous SAVORs, our passion (ahem, obsession) has driven us to fastidiously plot out a course and budget time to get to as many beers as possible. At this year’s SAVOR, we decided to take our time, talk to folks, and leisurely mosey across the floor.
The positive result of this “stop and smell the…noses” attitude is that the night felt less like Supermarket Sweep; the drawback is that we only got to a fraction of the beers we hoped to sample. This is mainly a result of our pacing but also because many tables ran out of at least one of their beers fairly early. Still, out of the brews we did try we had some clear favorites. Read on for our top beers, some fun quotes, and a list of post-SAVOR write-ups.
- Alaskan Smoked Porter – This dark beauty of a beer has been pleasing palates and winning awards for over two decades. We thought it had the perfect proportion of smoke and porter qualities and look forward to sharing a full bottle sometime.
- Upland Raspberry Lambic – This super refreshing beer was funky and tart like unripe raspberries. Its brilliant red color drew us in but the taste made us go back for a second pour.
- Coronado Idiot IPA – We really enjoyed this big, 8.5% ABV, unfiltered IPA. It’s the only of our SAVOR picks you can actually get in D.C., and although Coronado has hit the area like wildfire over the past few months, we hadn’t had this one. (But we’ve had several bottles since.)
- Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale – This base beer for the Saison-Brett we thought so highly of last year is part of the Kansas City brewery’s Smokestack series of experimental limited-edition brews. Floral hops, biscuity malt, and plenty of spice made this beer stand out to us.
- Barrel-Aged Salon Beers: Odell Woodcut No. 3 Oak Aged Crimson Ale & The Bruery Black Tuesday – These Imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels were both phenomenal but quite different. The Odell had the typical vanilla and coconut flavors of bourbon barrel aged beers but had a nice cola, spice character underneath. Black Tuesday was everything we dreamed it would be; at 20% ABV, the giant was as sweet and intense as they come.
“Some women shy away from beer, but not this girl.” —Diane Robinson, whose husband Larry Robinson has been running Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits for decades.
“I don’t know. We just make the beer.” —Boulevard Brewing Company founder John McDonald, when asked his thoughts on cross-state “bootlegging,” which is when people buy beer out of state and bring it to an area it is not officially distributed.
“He should have called it ‘Game Over.'” —Bruce after tasting Black Tuesday for the first time and hearing The Bruery founder Patrick Rue explain that Black Tuesday was named after a terrible, no good, very bad day of brewing, which happened to be a Tuesday.
Visit Craft Beer Radio to listen to all the salons and private tastings from this as well as past years of SAVOR. It’ll be just like you were there…except for not getting to taste the beer or food. Below is a list of write-ups from local bloggers and journalists who attended the event. Some are more of the portrait-heavy, society page variety but we have no right to knock that. Enjoy!
Photo by Eddie Arrossi Photography